Gubernatorial Update (August 27, 2010)

August 27, 2010 · 9:56 AM EDT

Republican prospects have taken a hit in the races for governor in Colorado and Connecticut putting a dent in the potential for a huge year for the GOP. Republicans are still in strong position but we’re revising our outlook downward slightly from a minimum GOP gain of eight seats to a range of a GOP gain of 6-8 governorships.

In California, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman (R) keeps spending her millions and is still very much in the game to keep the governorship in GOP hands. Former governor/current Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) is getting severely outspent and isn’t exactly the freshest face in politics. The Democratic nature of the state may be enough for Brown to win, but we can no longer say he has a significant advantage in the race. Move from Toss-Up/Tilt Democrat to Pure Toss-Up.

In Colorado, former Cong. Scott McInnis (R) hit a brick wall when plagiarism charges plagued his campaign and subsequently lost the GOP primary to employment agency executive Dan Maes. But former Cong. Tom Tancredo didn’t think either man could win the general election, so he found a way onto the ballot as the American Constitution Party candidate.

Now that Maes and Tancredo are dividing Republican and conservative voters, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper (D) is well-positioned to win in November. This race got entirely away from Republicans. We’re moving it from Toss-Up to Democrat Favored.

In Connecticut, even though Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy was regarded as the more moderate candidate in the primary, he defeated wealthy businessman/former U.S. Senate nominee Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary, giving his party a good chance to re-take Connecticut’s governorship. Republicans nominated former ambassador Tom Foley, but he’s got some personal baggage that came up in the primary that won’t help in the general either. Move from Toss-Up to Lean Democrat.

In Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn (D) never seemed to gain his footing after following Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) into office, but now Quinn looks like he’s imploding. Quinn consistently trails state Sen. Bill Brady (R) in the ballot tests and is upside down on his job rating and his personal rating. The governor’s media firm, AKPD (White House Adviser David Axelrod’s former firm), just parted ways with the campaign and Quinn’s chief of staff recently resigned under an ethics cloud. Even though this is Illinois, we’re moving the race from Toss-Up/Tilt Republican to Lean Republican.

In Rhode Island, state Attorney General Patrick Lynch (D) dropped out of the race leaving the Democratic nomination to state Treasurer Frank Caprio. Republicans will choose their candidate on September 14, but the question for the fall is whether GOP voters consider former Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee, who is running as an Independent, to be the de facto GOP nominee. For much of the year, it looked like Chafee had the advantage in the race, but this is now a Pure Toss-Up between Chafee and Caprio.

Finally in Florida, wealthy businessman Rick Scott won the Republican nomination in a bloody primary over Attorney General Bill McCollum. Six months ago, no one had ever heard of Scott but he sufficiently tagged McCollum as the establishment candidate and demonstrated the power of the outsider mantle. Scott starts the general election against the state’s Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink (D) bruised and battered after McCollum’s attacks, but the candidacy of Independent Bud Chiles, son of the former Democratic governor, and the fact that Sink has yet to come under fire, makes this race far from a shoo-in for the Democrat. For now, the race remains a Toss-Up.